Johnnie C's Sweet Italian Sausage Subs with Fennel and Onions

Johnnie C's Sweet Italian Sausage Subs with Fennel and Onions
  • 4Servings


  • 8 good-quality sweet italian sausages (about 2 lbs.), such as Johns pick, Fra Mani
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 bulbs fennel with fronds--quartered, cored and thinly sliced, with a handful of fronds reserved
  • 2 medium or 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
  • A few sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • About 1/3 cup Pernod (or other licorice-flavored liqueur) or Johns current fave, St-Germain (elderflower liqueur)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 italian-style 8-inch-long sub or hoagie rolls
  • Shaved parmigiano-reggiano cheese, for garnish
  • A handful torn basil leaves or a few stems tarragon, chopped
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish


Parboil the sausages in a few inches of water until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat an outdoor grill, indoor griddle or cast-iron pan to medium-high heat.

While the grill heats up, add 2 tbsp. EVOO, a couple turns of the pan, to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced fennel, onion, garlic and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Deglaze with the Pernod or St-Germain, then with the white wine; reduce the liquids at a simmer for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, split the sausages lengthwise but do not cut through; drizzle with EVOO. Grill the sausages on both sides. Place in the sub rolls and top with the fennel-onion mixture and cheese; garnish with the basil or tarragon, reserved fennel fronds and parsley.